Cost to Build a Rail Fence – 2021

| Last Updated: August 23, 2021

National Average Improvement and Repair Cost







$ 1075

$ 680

Would you do this project? According to our survey, 77% of respondents preferred DIY compared to hiring a pro.

The average price to Build a Rail Fence noted above is cost data to compare a contractor’s estimate with doing it yourself.

What’s the cost of a split rail fence? A fence contractor charges $1,075 to build a split rail fence but by building it yourself for $680 you save 36 percent.

A rail fence is one of the easiest to construct because its components are posts with holes for horizontal rails that fit together like pins in a slot.

While its original use was to keep livestock from straying into a neighbor’s homestead, today its natural good looks make a rail fence a pleasant addition to just about anyone’s home.

It defines property lines without putting up barriers or obstructing a view. The height of the fence is determined by the height of the posts and consequently whether there are two or three rails.

The first step for any fencing project is to consult your property survey so you know exactly where your property begins and ends. In most areas, a building permit is required to build a fence, so check with your local building department to see if one is needed and learn about any height restrictions and the requirement for the depth of the post holes. The depth depends on the frost line (how deep the ground freezes) is in your area. Also learn how close a fence can be to your neighbor’s property.

What’s the cost to build a rail fence? A fence contractor will charge $1,075 to build a 50-foot long rail fence, which includes the labor and material. You can buy the materials, including rails, posts and gravel to secure the posts, for $680 and build it yourself, saving 36 percent. The materials are sold at lumber yards, and home and garden centers. You’ll need a post hole digger, shovel, carpenter’s level, tape measure, and string and stakes.

A fence contractor doing the job with workers will take most of the day to build a rail fence, while a homeowner working alone will log in more than 20 hours.

Here’s instructions from Lowes Install a Split Rail Fence.

That sums it up. Knowing the average cost to build a rail fence lets you compare doing it yourself with what you can expect to pay a contractor.

Want to know how much building other fence types cost? Check out these articles:

Welcome! We hope you’ll find the job costs of home improvement projects useful when you’re deciding whether to do a job yourself vs. hire a contractor. We’re the authors of 20 home improvement books, most notably Home Improvement for Dummies©, Bathroom Remodeling for Dummies©, Carpentry for Dummies©, Plumbing for Dummies©, and Painting and Wallpapering for Dummies©. Our most recent book Fix It and Flip It is in its second edition. We’ve appeared as home improvement experts on television programs such as CNN, Dateline, the Today Show, HGTV and many others.